As we’ve been telling people for six years, the global governance of the internet is creating geopolitics of the highest order. With the Google-China rupture and the subsequent responses of the US and Chinese territorial governments, it is clear that the issues of cybercrime, censorship, trade and technology policy are converging on the problem of transnational governance of internet-based communications. As much as we appreciated Secretary Clinton’s ringing endorsement of internet freedom, however, to solve this problem we really need states to step back from the Internet. Politicians leading symbolic, flag-waving campaigns for their country’s values only provoke the same, polarizing response in the other country.
The current Google/US-China conflict is bigger than is recognized. It could reveal that we have not settled core issues of global Internet governance. As a result, the Internet is a point of instability for international relations.
In August 2009 the ICANN board decided to give its At Large community a voting position on the board. This change was hailed by many advocates of democratizing ICANN as a small but significant step toward improving ICANN's accountability to the public. Ideally, the new board position would be democratically selected by the world's Internet users to represent the voice of the public in ICANN.
Last week, ICANN's At Large Advisory Committee released its proposed process for the selection of a Board member. It has issued a call for public comment on its proposals, and it appears as if you comment at the same link as noted above. But don't get too excited. In designing the process, the only question the 5 people appointed by ALAC to design the process seems to have asked themselves is: what process will maximize our own chance of getting one of ourselves a voting position on the Board?
The Dutch Ministry of the Interior has been preemptively buying domain names. Several hundreds of them. Some of them are outright bizarre, such as degeitwordtgemolken.nl ('thegoatisbeingmilked.nl') or hetbrooddesemiszuur.nl ('thesourdoughbreadissour.nl'). What is going on?
Citing instances of espionage and surveillance of its customers, Google announced in coordinated fashion yesterday that they are no longer willing to continue censoring results on Google.cn, and threatened that it might withdraw operations from China entirely. Some are wondering if Google would actually walk away from the China market. Frankly, China routinely leverages the size of its market and counts on the fact that no business dares to give up a market of that size. But when businesses are willing to play rough and threaten exit they are more likely to get positive results than when they kow-tow. That being said, you don't make the move Google did without a plan. And that makes me think we might be witnessing the precursor to a major development in the application of trade principles to Internet governance.
Many thanks to our readers, both old and new, from civil society, industry and governments all over the world. Interest in IGP's work continues to grow dramatically, visits were up over 70% in 2009. Reflecting the growth of the Internet and those impacted by its governance, two-thirds of IGP's visitors come from outside the United States (although Washington DC is definitely following us). The greatest growth is among the BRICs, with visits from China up over 8000%. Here's to another year of in-depth coverage and analysis of global Internet governance developments! Keep reading to take a look at the top blog posts, papers downloads and visitors by country.
This week's post on DNSSEC requirements for new gTLDs piqued my curiosity – what exactly are the differences between the registry agreements ICANN has executed to date and the proposed registry agreement in the DAGv3 with respect to technical standards requirements? A quick review of the documents reveals a stark difference.
The ITU, in its comments submitted to the UN Secretary-General for a report to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on “Enhanced cooperation on public policy issues pertaining to the Internet,” states that concerning management of critical Internet resources, specifically domain name system security extensions (DNSSEC) root signing authority:
The root signing authority is of critical importance to the security, stability and reliability of the Internet. The role and functions related to policies governing the harmonized and global coordination of such services for country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) must be assumed by a relevant intergovernmental body with the mandate from Governments and the experience in providing such services so that concerns and interests of sovereign States can be taken into account.